Dlr: North ♠ A Vul: Both ♥ A J9 7 6 ♦ K 10 9 8 6 ♣ Q 8 7 ♠ K 9 4 ♥ K 5 2 ♦ Q 4 ♣ A J 10 9 5
 West North East South Pass 1♦ Pass 2♣ Pass 2♦ Pass 3NT All Pass

This deal was played in a teams match with identical auctions and the ♠Q as the opening lead at both tables. When dummy was displayed, both declarers realized they would have nine easy tricks if the club finesse won. Put yourself in South’s place. How will you get to nine tricks?

## Solution

At the first table, declarer was somewhat inexperienced. After winning the opening lead with dummy’s bare ♠A, he ran the ♣Q. West won with ♣K and continued with the ♠J. Declarer let this hold, but was forced to win the ♠10 continuation with his king. Declarer now ran the clubs, but East was safe, for he could afford to part with a heart and two diamonds. When declarer continued with a low diamond, West rose with the ace while East shed a second heart. West continued with the ♠7 and East took two tricks with the ♠8 and ♠6 to set the contract.

At the second table, declarer showed his experience by leading a low diamond at trick two. This would always see the contract made when East started with the A and the suit was 3-3 or the jack was doubleton. (If East played low in such circumstances and the Q held, declarer would have shifted his attention to clubs and would always have made at least four tricks in the suit and his contract. If instead East played the A, the diamond suit would have provided four tricks and the contract would have made. Alas, East did play a low diamond and West took the Q with the ace. West then cleared the spade suit in the same manner as at the first table.

Here, however, after winning with the ♠K, this declarer played the 4 to the king, felling East’s J. Declarer then had nine tricks: two spades, two hearts, four diamonds and the ♣A. Of course, if the J had not been doubleton, the second declarer would have had to fall back on the club finesse. The full deal:

 Dlr: North ♠ A Vul: Both ♥ A 9 7 6 ♦ K 10 9 8 6 ♣ Q 8 7 ♠ QJ 10 7 ♠ 8 6 5 3 2 ♥ 10 4 ♥ Q J 8 3 ♦ A 7 3 2 ♦ J 5 ♣ K 6 3 ♣ 4 2 ♠ K 9 4 ♥ K 5 2 ♦ Q 4 ♣ A J 10 9 5